Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Daryl Stephenson, right, celebrates his touchdown with teammate Bakari Grant against the Montreal Alouettes during CFL football action in Hamilton, Saturday, July 21, 2012.
Chris Williams collected 242 all-purpose yards, got booed by his home fans for showboating and threw up on national TV. He also helped spark the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a 39-24 win over the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday night at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Here’s how it went down.
After struggling to generate turnovers through the early part of the season, the Ticats got one early when linebacker Rey Williams intercepted Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo’s first pass of the game. Williams returned the pick 53 yards to the Alouette eight-yard line and it took Ticat pivot Henry Burris just one play to find Bakari Grant in the end zone for a quick 7-0 lead.
Hamilton extended the advantage on their next possession, Burris orchestrating a 12-play, 65-yard drive that benefitted from two infractions from Montreal linebacker Chip Cox. A short toss to Daryl Stephenson sealed the deal and the Ticats were up 14-0 with more than five minutes still to play in the opening quarter.
The Als responded. Calvillo threw a 54-yard strike to S.J. Green to set up Montreal deep in Ticat territory and three plays later Brandon Whittaker caught a dump pass and scampered into the end zone to cut the lead in half.
The next big play came via special teams when Darcy Brown burst through the middle of the Montreal punt formation, blocked the kick and recovered the fullback. But the Ticats – after taking a 13-yard loss on second-and-one –could only manage a single point when Luca Congi missed from 32 yards. It was Congi’s first misfire on the year.
A miss by Alouette’s kicker Sean Whyte was far more costly, however. His 50-yard boot went wide right – and into the arms of Chris Williams. After returning a missed field goal 119 yards for a touchdown last week, Williams went 117 yards this time around and looked set to score again but started his celebration a touch early, turning around to face his pursuers around the ten-yard line. He got hauled down at the one.
While Williams became an instant Twitter villain, it mattered little: Chevon Walker punched it in and gave Hamilton a 22-7 lead. Williams would lose his lunch a little later in quarter, captured in high definition by TSN: it sparked another round of Twitter hijinks.
Whyte managed a 45-yarder on Montreal’s next series – denying Williams a shot a redemption in the process – but the Ticats responded with yet another touchdown drive. Williams caught a 41-yard pass from Burris and Walker finished it off once again, this time taking a five-yard pass off a pretty play fake and waltzing into the end zone.
They weren’t done: Burris ran six plays in 1:17 moving the ball 68 yards and setting up a Congi chip shot from 22 on the half’s final play to make it 32-10. The team got a standing ovation as they left the field.
But the Ticats have struggled in the third quarter of games this season – they’d been outscored by 21 coming into this week – and the Alouettes went to work. Calvillo hit Brandon London from 32 yards out, a beautiful throw into double coverage and then put together an eight-play, 92-yard drive that ended with 12-yard pass to Patrick Lavoie. When it was all said an done, Montreal started the final frame trailing by just eight.
Luckily, the Ticats left the bad juju behind when they started the fourth with scoring drive, Burris connected with Andy Fantuz from 26-yards out and made it 39-24, allowing the Ivor Wynne crowd to resume breathing.
From there, the Ticats defence and the raucous Ivor Wynne crowd more or less brought it home. Calvillo threw for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns but finally ran out of steam with under two minutes to go when the Alouettes turned it over on downs at the Ticats 20.
With the win, Hamilton moves 2-2 and into first place in the East Division courtesy of wins over both Montreal and Toronto. They travel to Regina next Saturday for a match up against the league’s only remaining undefeated team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Notes: Attendance was 23,392... the Ticats honoured kicker Paul Osbaldiston at halftime as part of the celebrations for the final season of Ivor Wynne Stadium.